Atlantic City’s Diverse Community Stands to Benefit Most From AtlantiCare’s New Dental Practice


Photo Caption: Dr. Srikar Vulugundam, Dental Director FQHC; Sandy Festa, AVP Executive Director FQHC; Dr. Kimberly Mazur, Adult Medicine Physician FQHC; Rosalind Kincaid, Board Chair FQHC; Michael Charlton, President & CEO AtlantiCare; and Maisha Moore, Interim Executive Director Casino Reinvestment Development Authority gathered on January 18 at the grand opening of AtlantiCare's first FQHC Dental Practice location, 7 S. Ohio Avenue in Atlantic City. Photo courtesy of AtlantiCare.

AC JosepH Media

ATLANTIC CITYAtlantiCare, an integrated system of services designed to help people achieve optimal health, held a grand opening for its first dental practice as part of its Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) program at the Medical Arts Pavilion, on 7 South Ohio Avenue, on Friday, Jan. 19.

AtlantiCare’s Federally Qualified Health Center helps ensure access to quality healthcare for all local residents, regardless of race, ethnicity, immigration status, gender or sexual orientation. The destination is important for Atlantic City residents, where minorities make up more than half of the population and is one of the most culturally diverse in New Jersey.

“You need access to the right care to prevent oral diseases,” said Srikar Vulugundam, DDS, MPH, BDS, Dental Director. “The opening of this dental practice will have a positive impact in Atlantic County, and I look forward to working with AtlantiCare’s talented team to advance our mission of improving the health and wellness of our community.”

By adding access to dental services, AtlantiCare hopes to decrease emergency department visits for dental emergencies annually and address oral health issues before they become emergent, aiding in the overall health and well-being of patients.

“We’re excited to announce the establishment of our first dental practice within our healthcare system and realize the vital role the dental center will play in delivering comprehensive health services and high-quality care for all members of our community,” said Michael J. Charlton, President and CEO of AtlantiCare.

“This added service underscores our commitment to holistic healthcare, recognizing that oral health is integral to a patient’s overall well-being. Dental care services for adults and children are a significant need in the Atlantic City area. We can now ensure that every individual, regardless of socioeconomic status, will receive the care they deserve.”

The opening of the dental practice comes during AtlantiCare’s 125th anniversary, a year-long celebration highlighting all AtlantiCare has achieved since first opening its doors.

AtlantiCare’s FQHC has played a significant role in that legacy. Since AtlantiCare opened its first FQHC in Atlantic City in 2003, this program has provided great benefit to the community, including access to high-quality primary medical, behavioral health, and now dental services for all persons regardless of race, ethnicity, immigration status, gender, sexual orientation, or ability to pay for services.

Annually, the FQHC serves 12,057 patients each year for over 56,000 visits, a number that has increased 3%-5% year after year.

“For 125 years, AtlantiCare has provided high-quality care to people across South Jersey, including to the medically underserved,” said U.S. Sen. Cory Booker in a released statement by AtlantiCare. The hospital said Booker’s support was instrumental in the opening of the dental center.

“I’m proud to have helped secure funding for AtlantiCare’s first Federally Qualified Health Center dental practice in Atlantic City to build on this remarkable legacy, and I’m excited by this latest expansion, which will allow the center to offer preventative oral care that improves health and saves families money,” Booker added.

The 4,200 square-foot dental suite will house nine dental operatories and an on-site lab. The dental practice will be staffed by two dentists, three dental assistants and two hygienists. The first patients will be seen in February.

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